Discover more stories in our Alumni Chronicles Magazine!
By Lilia Ortiz
University of Phoenix student Kimberly Houston meant business during the pandemic.
Currently an order processing specialist for a software company, Houston realized quarantine was the ideal time to focus on earning her Bachelor of Science in Business with a Project Management Certificate at University of Phoenix (UOPX).
Her passion for managing people and projects led her to pursue this career path. However, Houston’s main motivation for going back to school was her children. In particular, she credits her daughter for providing her with the push she needed.
"As my daughter graduated high school and started her college journey, I wanted to be a support and role model to her," Houston said. "We did homework together, helped each other with assignment questions and really bonded over school."
She added, "When the pandemic hit, I was a few months away from completing my [associate] degree." Houston didn’t let that stop her. She made the most out of quarantine by taking online courses at UOPX, which allowed her to balance her life as a mother, wife, full-time employee and student.
According to Houston, "Taking online courses and being able to set a schedule helped a lot because I was still able to have free time."
We asked Houston a few questions about how she stayed committed to earning her degree during the pandemic, how she overcame challenges while going to school and other steps she’s taken to pursue her dream of becoming a project manager.
What motivated you to earn your Bachelor of Science in Business during the pandemic?
My motivation to earn my degree has always been my kids and family. Being a teen mom, it was not easy, but as my kids got older and more independent, it was easier for me to focus and take a step back.
Earning my degree at University of Phoenix shows my daughter and son, who is still in high school, that it is never too late. You will always face obstacles and challenges, but never give up and keep reaching for your goals.
How did you remain committed to pursuing your degree?
When I went back to school, I was so close to obtaining my associate degree, so that made it easy to keep going. Once I earned my associate [degree], I could not stop there, so I kept going for my bachelor's degree at University of Phoenix.
Going to school during the pandemic was no change for me because everything was already online and not in person. The only difference was having my kids, husband and I doing work and schoolwork all from home.
What kind of challenges did you overcome while pursuing your business degree?
It was a challenge to find the perfect schedule that worked for me and stick to it. Being a full-time mother, wife and student was very challenging. There were many tired days after getting off work, cooking, helping with homework and then finding the time to sit down, focus and submit a discussion question.
Pursuing my bachelor's degree was different from the associate degree because more group assignments were due. Working in a group with people you don’t know, have never seen and only communicate with through Blackboard had its challenges.
What steps did you take during this time that helped you as a student?
Creating a schedule and sticking to it. I had days during the week when I would only do schoolwork, and other days I relaxed or cooked and spent time with my family.
Are there certain words you live by that help you with your commitments?
"I am enough. I matter. You can do it. Keep pushing."
What other recent commitments have you made that you were able to see through?
I recently started shadowing the project manager at my job to learn more about the role. I take on small projects that I can help out with while in my current role. I am on track with my commitment to pursuing a project management role.
What’s a commitment in your life that you don’t regret breaking?
I don’t regret taking time for myself when needed. Before, I felt the need to attend a gathering I was invited to, regardless if I had 10 assignments due. Learning how to say no and that it is OK to change your mind after making a social commitment helped me stay focused. I also learned to listen to my body when it was tired and needed a break.
Inspired by Kimberly Houston’s story? Going back to school can fit into your schedule too! Learn more about our short professional development courses, which are skill-focused, self-paced and 100% online. At the end of the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion you can post to your resumé or LinkedIn® profile for prospective employers to see.
About University of Phoenix
As pioneers in online higher education since 1989, University of Phoenix is an accredited online university for working adults. We are proud to offer quality educational pathways through flexible, career-focused online degrees, certificates and professional development courses that fit into your life and options to save you time and money. Our students are supported every step of the way, including career services for life.
Let us help you take the most direct path to your future career goals. We’re ready when you are.
More than 100 online programs aligned to 300+ occupations.
Online courses and certificates
Explore professional development and earn credentials.
Ways to save
Learn ways you can save as you pursue your goals.